A magnificent performance from Gregory Peck and Horton Foote's understated screenplay help make "To Kill a HTC Mockingbird" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) a movie that won nearly universal acclaim, from both audiences and critics, when it was released in 1962.
Based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Mockingbird" is the story of Atticus Finch, a highly principled Southern lawyer who's called upon to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. It's also about his two children, Jem and Scout (Phillip Alford and Mary Badham), and their obsession with a mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, in his film debut).
"Mockingbird" touches on a multitude of themes (the blinding ignorance of prejudice, a child's love for her father, a man's willingness to sacrifice everything for what is right), all of them movingly. And Peck is so effective (he won an Oscar) that an entire generation of fathers patterned themselves after Atticus Finch.
Kudos to ABC for giving this marvelous film a prime-time airing.
Pub Date: 12/25/97